Authors, Lawyers Share Insights on the Art of Fiction Writing

From left, Associate Dean Nelson Miller, adjunct professors Anna Rapa and Bill Jack, and Assistant Professor Kara Zech Thelen.

From left, Associate Dean Nelson Miller, adjunct professors Anna Rapa and Bill Jack, and Assistant Professor Kara Zech Thelen.

Novels from the panelists represent a wide variety of themes in fiction

Novels from the panelists represent a wide variety of themes in fiction.

June 29, 2012 – Cooley Law School Associate Dean Nelson Miller, along with two other members of the legal community shared their love of fiction writing and success in publishing in a special presentation June 28 at the school’s Grand Rapids campus. Writing makes up a large part of the job for most attorneys and law professors, but for Thursday's panel discussion, Miller, along with Cooley adjunct professors Bill Jack and Anna Rapa — all published authors — focused on fiction writing. Professor Kara Zech Thelen moderated the discussion.

Dean Miller, who wrote Pierce’s Cause:  A Trial Lawyers Allegorical Novel, said he wanted a book to help law students understand the civil procedure aspects of a trial.  He expressed appreciation for many others who reviewed his writings, and who provided him with comments and suggestions.  Jack, who wrote, Journey’s End, A Novel, said he wanted to show how important friendships and male bonding can be in a person's life.  Rapa, who wrote Second Story:  Seeing What is Not Being Said, said she wanted to write a useful book that could be used by others who are struggling with faith, and how to best share that faith with others.

The authors described to audience members, who included students from the school’s Research & Writing and Scholarly Writing classes, the balance that writing fiction gives them. They said they really enjoyed leaving behind the footnoting and citing that is so much a part of legal writing.

Fiction writing is for pure pleasure as well as conveying the intended message, Jack noted, urging students to write for themselves, and to enjoy the process.  Hopeful writers were urged to follow their dream.  Rapa advised hopeful authors to just start writing and not critique their work while they write it, but to let the thoughts flow. 

And, the authors agreed, just keep going. Noted Miller, "The more you write, the better you become at it."


About Cooley Law School: Founded in 1972, the Thomas M. Cooley Law School is a private, nonprofit, independent law school accredited by the American Bar Association and the Higher Learning Commission. Cooley has provided its more than 16,000 graduates with the practical skills necessary for a seamless transition from academia to the real world. Cooley offers its Juris Doctor program, Joint Degree programs, and Master of Laws programs three times a year with enrollment in January, May and September. Cooley Law School has campuses across Michigan in Lansing, Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor, and its new campus in Tampa Bay, Florida.

 

Highlights

Law Professionals Share Insights on Fiction Writing.

Fiction Offers a Balance to Traditional Legal Writing. 

Law Students Get Inside Look at Practical Steps of Publishing.


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